Main Difference – Contemporary vs Modern
Modern and contemporary are two words that have very similar meanings. Even though both modern and contemporary can be used to refer to the present or recent times, contemporary also has another specific meaning. Contemporary refers to something existing or happening in the same time period whereas modern is used to represent the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past. This is the main difference between contemporary and modern. Although these two words are interchangeable in some contexts, they might have specific meanings in different fields and styles such as architecture, dance, music, etc. For example, the two terms modern dance and contemporary dance may refer to two separate styles of dancing. Let’s look at these different usages in this article.
This article covers,
1. What Does Contemporary Mean? – Definition Meaning, Usage and Examples
2. What Does Modern Mean? – Definition, Meaning, Usage and Examples
3. Difference Between Contemporary and Modern
What Does Contemporary Mean – Definition, Meaning and Usage
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines contemporary as “existing or happening in the same time period: from the same time period”. The Oxford dictionary also defines this term as “living or occurring at the same time”. In addition to this definition, contemporary can also be used to represent the present, especially if a given context refers to people living in the present.
Contemporary refers to things to that are popular or used at the present. It specifically refers to things that have been and continue to be created during our lifetimes. This term can, however, can have different meanings in different styles. For example, contemporary architecture refers to the architectural styles that are popular at the present. Contemporary art refers to art that was created from the 1960s or 70s to the present. Contemporary dance refers to a specific concert dance that is influenced by compositional philosophy. This style is characterized by unchoreographed movements.
What Does Modern Mean – Definition, Meaning and Usage
The adjective modern is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “of or relating to the present time or the recent past: happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time” and the Oxford dictionary defines modern as “relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.”
Modern art refers to the style that began in the 19th century and ended around the 1960s. Impressionists, Cubists, Surrealists, Futurism, and Bauhaus, are some styles or genres that belong to modern art. Modern architecture and design refer to a design style that was created in the 1920′s – 1950′s. Modern dance is a free expressive style of dancing that developed in the early 20th century as a reaction to classical ballet. As seen from these examples, the term modern refers to a certain period of time. Therefore, these genres and styles remain static, unlike contemporary designs and style.
Difference Between Contemporary and Modern
Contemporary can be defined as “living or occurring at the same time”.
Modern can be defined as “relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past”.
Contemporary vs. Modern Art
Contemporary art refers to art that was created from the 1960s or 70s to the present.
Modern art refers to the style that began in the 19th century and ended around the 1960s.
Contemporary vs. Modern Dance
Contemporary dance is a genre that developed during the mid-twentieth century and continues till today.
Modern dance is a free expressive style of dancing that developed in the early 20th century as a reaction to classical ballet.
Contemporary vs. Modern Architecture
Contemporary architecture refers to the architectural styles that are popular at the present.
Modern architecture refers to architectural styles in the mid-twentieth century.
“Painting by Dana Schutz: Girl with a Dog, 2009 / 185th Annual Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy of Fine Art / 20100216.7D.03278.P1.CC / SML” by See-ming Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
“Jean Metzinger, 1907, Paysage coloré aux oiseaux aquatiques, oil on canvas, 74 x 99 cm, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris” By Jean Metzinger – Jean Metzinger, Divisionism, Cubism and Post-Cubism (PD-US) via Commons Wikimedia